Yesterday, in a lightly-attended NBA Player's Association meeting in Las Vegas, the union announced the election of Chris Paul as its new president. Paul's election comes on the heels of a divisive time in the life of the union. Six months ago the NBAPA fired long-time executive director Billy Hunter and has yet to replace him. Hunter has sued for wrongful termination and the union's generally been in turmoil since the end of the lockout in December 2011. Hunter accused former union president Derek Fisher of conspiring with NBA league officials during the lockout.
Paul's election seems to mark a change in strategy for the NBAPA. The last three presidents were mid-level players (Fisher, Michael Curry, and Antonio Davis) after Patrick Ewing left office in 2001. Paul is a perennial all-star and considered by most to be one of the top five players in the NBA. He served as the union's vice president for the last four years and recently signed a 5-year $107 million dollar contract with the LA Clippers.
Paul's immediate job will be replacing Hunter, but he's also facing some important issue's beyond that, including testing for PED's, potentially changing the league's minimum age, and perhaps, bringing D-league players into the union fold.
What does it mean for the Clippers? It's hard to know, one would like to see CP3 focus primarily on basketball but Paul's on and off-court leadership has never flagged for a moment. He's smart, verbal, squeaky-clean, and always has his head on straight... exactly what the player's union needs in its top spot. He's also the kind of personality that can bring together a somewhat divided constituency: NBA players are increasingly cast into two lots: the highly paid superstar or the minimally paid role player.